Nigerian group wins Port Harcourt refinery bid

Blue Star, a consortium of Nigerian companies Zenon Oil, Dangote Oil, and Gas & Transnational Corp., paid $561 million to acquire 51% of a government-owned stake in Nigeria's Port Harcourt refinery.

Shirish Nadkarni
OGJ Correspondent

MUMBAI, May 24 -- Blue Star, a consortium of Nigerian companies Zenon Oil, Dangote Oil, and Gas & Transnational Corp., paid $561 million to acquire 51% of a government-owned stake in Nigeria's Port Harcourt refinery.

The companies, which are headed by close associates of the country's outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo, won the bid over UK-based international steel baron Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, who bid $550 million.

Blue Star emerged the winner in open bidding conducted last weekend in Abuja by the Nigerian privatization agency Bureau of Public Enterprises.

Sources at Indian government-owned refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) said Mittal originally had planned to bid for the 210,000 b/d refinery with HPCL, but instead bid it alone when HPCL decided against investing in the facility.

The Indian-born Mittal earlier this year had accepted a 49% stake in HPCL's proposed $3.3 billion Bhatinda refinery to be built in Punjab, northwestern India (OGJ Online, Feb. 22, 2007).

India's largest refiner Indian Oil Corp., also invited to bid on the Port Harcourt refinery, decided against making an offer. Two other bidders, local fuel marketer Oando and a combine of Sahara and Refinee PetroPlus, were disqualified.

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